HOUSTON Those closest to Dan Winfrey say the 61-year-old spent a lifetime serving others.

it didn t matter if he was mad at you or not, said his sister Donna Griffin. If you needed help, he d do anything to help.

She believes that s why her big brother joined the navy and fought in Vietnam, and why he was driving down the Southwest Freeway on Monday afternoon.

He was trying to get to his girlfriend s new job to pick her up, said Griffin.

Police said he was driving erratically when his SUV collided with a big rig on the Southwest Freeway, and his sister thinks she knows why.

He wasn t familiar with the area and called her to see what exit to take, said Griffin.

Ironically, it was the kind of thing her brother complained about, placing a phone call while operating a motor vehicle.

He d say stay off the phone and drive before you kill somebody, said Griffin. He used to say that all the time.

Turns out Winfrey s choice may have cost him his life.

He said, 'Oh God, and the phone went dead, said Griffin.

People at a nearby business who heard the crash tried to help. It was too late. The flames were too intense.

I can t believe the one thing that he hated the most was the thing that he did and took him away, said Griffin.

Read or Share this story: